Russia – Turkey – Military – Aviation

Turkey Says Refused Access to Russian Flight near Syria

Turkey Says Refused Access to Russian Flight near Syria
Thu Feb 4, 2016 17:50:50

Turkey on Thursday said that it had refused to allow a Russian reconnaissance plane to overfly its territory near Syria, citing a disagreement over the flight plan, as relations between the two countries hit a post-Cold War low.

The Turkish foreign ministry’s statement came a day after Russia accused Turkey of breaching the Open Skies treaty by refusing the plane access.

“An agreement could not be reached on the itinerary for the reconnaissance flight requested by the Russian Federation for 2-5 February 2016,” the ministry said.

Moscow had said Wednesday that the Russian plane’s flight plan had been transmitted to the Turkish army in advance but authorization was refused with Ankara.

The 2002 Open Skies treaty, signed by over 30 nations including Russia, Turkey, the EU and the US, establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights giving all participants the ability to gather information about military forces and activities of concern to them.

Its aim is to boost mutual understanding and confidence.

In an apparent bid to downplay the significance of the latest incident, the Turkish foreign ministry said Thursday it had allowed Russia to conduct a reconnaissance flight in December after Moscow changed the itinerary as requested by Ankara, AFP reported.

S/SH

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